Tips for a better sleep part 1.....
No matter what my clients goals are, sleep is always the first thing I will look at.
Poor quality and quantity of sleep can affect so many aspects of a person's day to day life. Physical performance can be affected, reaction time, the ability to make quick decisions, strategy and cognitive thinking. Weight management and mood to name a few.
A general guideline for an average person would be to get between 7-9 hours sleep per night.
Please stop thinking
so much at night,
I need to sleep......
If you struggle to settle down at night because your mind is over active?
You need to identify what it is that's bugging you.
Are you stressed, worried, anxious, angry or regretful about something?
It is something that is directly affecting you right now in this present moment?
If not, then stop thinking about it.
Better still, write it down. Devise a plan of action to tackle the issue or simply jot down your thoughts. Getting that out of your head and on to the paper acts as a brain dump and will help your mind to settle.
In the past, when I have been stressed. I have found that writing a job list for the next day helps. Once it's on the paper you have nothing left to occupy your mind and can finally relax.
Get into a routine. The body's internal clock and hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness works best if there's a regular sleep routine. You should know when it's bedtime each night as you will feel sleepy around this time that your body has linked with bed. To help this, try to have a wind-down hour before bed that doesn't include any stimulating activities such as moderate exercise, video games, TV, phones etc. Instead get used to relaxing by reading quietly, having a warm non-caffeinated drink, a hot bath or do some stretching/meditation.
Avoid caffeine in the evening. This is not limited to tea and coffee, but includes soft drinks such as cola. Caffeine is a stimulant and stays in the body for 6/7 hours after being consumed so it's best to keep caffeine to earlier in the day. It's also important to realise if and when you're using caffeine to mask crappy sleep.....Sure, there are times when we all need coffee to pick us up during a period of heavy work or whatever else. But if this becomes the norm, then you should consider taking steps to taper back your caffeine intake and address your poor sleep before it catches up on you.
The European Food Safety-Authority states that 400mg of caffeine per day is safe....that's equivalent to roughly 3-4 instant coffees or 3-4 shots of expresso. Many other foods and beverages containing caffeine like protein bars, diet coke and dark chocolate.
And another much loved substance that also needs to be considered when it comes to sleep is alcohol.
Does that mean you should never have a glass of wine with your dinner?
Or a casual drink with the girls whilst having a catch up in the afternoon?
Nope. If you want to dial in your sleep or you consistently wake up feeling unrefreshed, it should be the exception rather than the rule....Guidelines suggest 2-3 units for females as a sensible daily limit. To help you visualize these numbers, a pint of 4% beer is around 2.5 units and a 40% shot is roughly 1 unit.
And finally if you HAVE to use your phone or laptop an hour or two before going to sleep. I highly recommend using apps. Apple have created an iPhone setting that allows you to filter blue light (it is blue light wave, that makes our bodies believe it's day time...not going into that today on this blog sorry). 'Light shift' on your Display & Brightness settings. Also the laptop/computer app f.lux allows you to do this, meaning that your evening Facebook trolling or reading all the amazing stuff on Costawomen's webpage, won't impact your sleep as greatly.
Part two ....coming soon
Fitness & Nutrition Coach